Saturday, April 05, 2008

One more time for the troops...with some other messages


“Well, boys ... I haven't a thing to say. Played a great game, Thursday...all of you. I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years -- None of you ever knew Kip Miller. It was long before your time. But you know what a tradition he is in Washington...And the last thing he said to me – ‘Rock,’ he said – ‘sometime, when the team is up against it -- and the breaks are beating the boys -- tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Kipper...I don't know where I'll be then, Rock", he said – ‘but I'll know about it - and I'll be happy.’"

-- Knute Rockne



“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in the offensive zone,
we shall fight on the boards and in the corners,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the defensive zone,
we shall defend our ice, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight at the blue line,
we shall fight in the neutral zone,
we shall fight in the faceoff circles and in the crease,
we shall fight in the slot;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this ice or a large part of it were bruised and bleeding, then our Empire beyond 7th Street, armed and guarded by the Capitals, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New Capitals, with all their power and might, step forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Stanley Cup.”

-- Winston Churchill



"I got a telegram from a lady in Texas today. You know what it said?

' …'I hope the Caps beat those Panther bastards.'"

-- Herb Brooks

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!! -- Caps vs. Panthers, April 5th

Already?...we’re to game 82 already?

Seems like last week we were at Kettler for training camp. But here we are, and the ball is on the Caps’ racket…the soup is in their ladle…the [insert your sports metaphor here].

They win, they’re in.

That’s all there is to it. A couple of weeks ago, the thought of putting together a winning streak to end the year and sneak into the playoffs was borderline delusion. Tonight, the Caps need only to assemble a winning streak of one. It’s been a difficult path, the odds of success long, and no one knows more about difficult circumstances and long odds than Leonidas, King of Sparta. Welcome, King…oh, and nice helmet.

“My pleasure…”

You and your army faced long odds once, at Thermopylae. Loved the movie, by the way. Now, how do you inspire your men to deal with such overwhelming odds as you head into battle? What would you tell the Caps tonight as they head onto the ice?

“Spartans…uh, Capitals never retreat! Capitals never surrender! Go spread the word. Let every hockey fan assembled know the truth of this.”

When Florida takes the ice – a team that might have ruined Carolina’s playoff hopes last night – what goes through your mind?

“Give them nothing! But take from them everything!”

It will probably be a hard fight…the Panthers will certainly want to end the season on a high note…how do you deal with adversity in that situation? When they charge, how do you respond?

“I tell the men, ‘This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die!’”

Sounds like pretty strong stuff…

“Yeah, well…if you think this is strong, you ought to hear my wife when I get home from battle all sweaty and covered in blood…”

What do you say to the Caps’ nervous fans who will be looking on?

“Children, gather round! No retreat, no surrender; that is Capitals law. And by Capitals law we will stand and fight... and win. A new age has begun. An age of playoffs, and all will know, that 20 Capitals gave their last breath to achieve it!”

Not long ago, the thought of playoffs was madness…


Well, it will probably be madness in Washington tonight as Verizon Center turns once more into a sea of red. But it will not be easy, despite the fact that their opponent – the Florida Panthers – was eliminated from playoff contention several games ago.

We covered the recent trends of the Panthers not too long ago, and not much has changed…except, of course, their doing the Caps the favor of knocking off Carolina last night.

This game is much like that for the Caps-Lightning contest on Thursday. We should “expect” the Caps to win because they’re better…

…but again – like the Tampa Bay example – there is that special teams thing. The Panthers have compiled a somewhat better special teams set of numbers this year. And Florida has a better defense than Tampa Bay brought to the party on Thursday.

As far as the more recent history of these teams is concerned…

The Caps once more have the edge, but it is not an overwhelming one.

Washington might be catching a bit of a break in this one. Florida played last night, doing the Caps the favor of beating Carolina, 4-3. In doing so, the Panthers had to endure nine shorthanded situations (they had no power plays of their own), including a pair of 3-on-5 situations. And, Caps’ nemesis Tomas Vokoun had to leave the game after the first 20 minutes with back spasms. Craig Anderson filled in more than capably, allowing only two goals on 28 shots. Anderson is no slouch…including last night’s save in relief of Vokoun, he is 6-0-0 in his last six games, 1.23, .967, and two shutouts. But, where Vokoun was the only goalie of record against the Caps this year, compiling a 4-3-0 mark, Anderson has not faced the Caps at all this year and is 0-2-0 in his career against Washington.

This is, in likelihood, going to be the Caps’ seventh full house in the last 11 home games and fourth in a row. It’ll be a sea of red, and as we know, “red” means “stop”…as in “stop the playoff drought.”

Any last words, King?

“Unless I miss my guess, we're in for one wild night.”

Caps 4 – Panthers 1

Lead the cheers, King…

Florida-Carolina Quiz

Notice anything especially odd about this result?...

If 'Canes fans complain about the officiating in this one, they ought to be flogged.